How can we help others as much as possible with our careers, donations, and limited resources? Effective Altruism is a social movement and philosophy focused on this question. In figuring out how to help others as much as possible, we are guided by the values of critical thinking, open-mindedness, and equity.
Critical Thinking: Applying evidence and reason to evaluate our actions and identify effective interventions
Open-mindedness: Willing to consider opposing arguments, as well as updating our beliefs and actions according to new evidence
Equity: Valuing all sentient life, regardless of nationality, temporality, or species
Our Strategy: A lot of us want to create a positive impact while we are at college. At YEA, we also realize that it matters a lot how you choose to spend the 80,000 hours you will have in your career, just like it matters how you choose to spend your lifetime income. Given this realization, we prioritize informing students about high-impact careers and encouraging them to work on the world’s most pressing problems after graduation.
Our Activities: One of our flagship projects is the YEA Fellowship, an intensive and rewarding semester-long program for students to deeply engage with ideas and strategies for effectively improving the world. In addition to the fellowship, we host speaker events, workshops, discussions, and social events. Every November, we launch a campaign to raise awareness about the Giving What We Can pledge, where we encourage students to pledge a portion of their income to effective charities.
Our Community: Perhaps most importantly, we are a community of like-minded individuals. We come from all over the world and study all kinds of different subjects, but we have one thing in common: A desire to make the world a much better place. Together, we have weekly dinners and hang out on the weekends. We also have a semesterly retreat for our members! Additionally, we provide connections to a global network of students and professionals with common goals. These connections can often lead to internships, mentoring, and job opportunities in fields where you can have a large impact.
Your Involvement: There are many different ways to get involved with YEA. First of all, you can attend our public events. Past events include a debate on the ethics of eating meat featuring John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods, talks given by Julia Wise, President of Giving What We Can, and a talk by William MacAskill, the Oxford philosophy professor who helped create effective altruism. You can also attend our discussion groups and workshops. Keep an eye on our Facebook Page for news about these opportunities. In the beginning of the semester, you can also apply for our Fellowship. Finally, if you want to be part of organizing events on campus, you should join the YEA board!
If you’d like to have a one-on-one with one of our board members about how best to be involved, reach out here.
What will we do this year?
- A talk by Joshua Monrad ‘20, Summer Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute, on effective altruism and the YEA community on Tuesday, September 8, 4pm ET
- Effective Altruism Fellowship, including an introductory workshop, weekly discussions with Fellows, discussions with professors, career planning, and more
- Discussion group on topics ranging from moral philosophy, AI security, global development, animal welfare, and effective giving
- Discussions with professors such as Shelly Kagan
- Social events, including weekly game nights and co-working
- Workshops on EA concepts and career planning
- Giving What We Can pledge drive to encourage giving a percentage of one’s income to effective charities
- Connect students with alumni and other resources to facilitate their career development
- Connect students to the global EA community’s virtual events and discussions